The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

How the Internet Changed Field Sales (Video)

Primary sales channel has seen transformative impact.

In our recent Indian River Consulting Group-MDM survey on the role of field sales, we asked distributors how they expected field sales to change over the next decade. Their answers reflect a recognition of the transformative impact of the internet on their primary sales channel:

  • Fewer field sales reps with an emphasis on e-commerce and online sales
  • More digital content to provide technical information to the customer
  • An expanded role for the inside sales and customer service teams
  • A shift to expertise-oriented instead of relationship-oriented outside sales teams
  • A shift from “pure sales” to activities that reinforce the distributor’s competitive advantage

But while many recognize this shift is happening, the question is: Are they ready?

You don’t have to look that far back to find a time when distribution field sales reps were a primary source of information for their customers. But the internet is now that source of product specs, reviews, pricing and availability. In fact, according to multiple studies, up to two-thirds of buying decisions are made before a customer has even reached out to a sales rep.

This, combined with a diminished need to save the day thanks to increasingly reliable supply chains, means that a field sales rep’s contribution to the customer relationship is significantly different than even just a decade ago.

So what does that mean for your field sales team? The role won’t disappear, but it will different. Watch this video to learn more about the impact of the internet and what that means for your field sales team.

We are excited to work with distribution executives to transform their distribution sales model at our upcoming hands-on executive workshop, Sales GPS, co-hosted with MDM. Join us March 1-2 in Austin, TX. Learn more at

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